Psalm 51, Jesus, and Your Relationship

If you’ve read any of our previous studies, you know that I talk a lot about your identity in Christ, your foundation in Him, your Relationship with God. I talk about those things so often because without these things, you really have nothing but dead religion. Without these things: without your identity, without your relationship, without your foundation on Jesus Christ, it’s all just empty ritual, empty tradition, and ultimately an empty existence.

I had one person ask me once: Why don’t you teach something more relevant? And I had to respond and say that there is nothing more relevant than the finished work of Jesus Christ, and who you are in Him. I have discussions with people all of the time, who claim to be Christian’s, who say that they are believers, but they have no real relationship with God; they have no foundation, or realization of their identity… and these same people are living defeated lives… they are down all of the time, and they spend more time talking about how the enemy is beating them down rather than the victory that Jesus has won.

And please understand, I am not pointing fingers at those people, I’m not judging or ridiculing them at all – that’s not what Jesus called me to do… my purpose in mentioning their situation, is to highlight an issue that needs to be addressed… the lack of this foundation, identity and relationship in and through Jesus, is hurting people and destroying lives.

So what I want to share with you today, is more on this foundation. So that you will be able to live in the confidence, joy and peace of Jesus Christ every single day.

Your Conscience is Cleansed in Christ

One of the most misunderstood areas of our psyche, from a Biblical standpoint, is our conscience. This was an area that I was affected in for a number of years, because I heard and believed the lie, and it led me down a very dark path, which served to place an artificial barrier between myself and God and ministered condemnation and death to not only my soul, but my physical body as well.

This extremely destructive lie, was that I had to be constantly aware of and conscious of my sin; to do otherwise would mean that I would have a seared conscience – which I was told meant that I would not be able to “feel bad” about my sin any longer, and God would give me over to destruction. The only remedy for this was to constantly remind myself of sin and constantly be aware of my sin and keep myself from ever forgetting it.

Many people have heard this same lie and believed it like I have, and if that describes you today, then you are going to be very glad that you are reading this today, because this is not only totally backwards from the truth, and quite wrong, but it is also very damaging to our relationship with God, and has kept people bound in chains, sometimes for their entire lives. However the truth will make us free, and that is what I want to share with you today… the truth regarding your conscience.

Your Righteousness is Not An Illusion

How many times have you heard the phrase “we are sinners saved by grace”? It’s a common phrase in Christian communities. And most people agree with it. Another one is “God sees you in Christ”… that is a very true statement; God does indeed see you in Christ today. However what I want to share with you is why He sees you in Christ, and the totality of what that statement means. Because we have started to accept a distorted, lesser view of who we are and what we have in Christ Jesus today, than what is actually true, and God wants us to see all of who He has made us to be.

You see, most believers have this idea that they are actually still a sinner, still dirty, still unclean, but that because of what Jesus did on the cross, that God can somehow “look passed” all of that filthiness and see you clean, as if your cleanliness was some kind of trick or fraud or just an illusion. That is not the truth however, your righteousness is not just a mere illusion, and we will see why today.

Your Eternal Choice

Choices, choices. We make hundreds of choices every single day: what to wear, what to eat, where to go, what to say, how to spend our free-time. Many choices, all ours to make as we see fit. Those choices have an effect, the choices we make result in certain things happening, and certain outcomes. Some with negligible differences, and some with larger and longer influences – such as a marriage.

All of these though, utterly pale in comparison to one choice… one eternal choice. One choice that will affect your eternal destination. One choice that will determine your future for all-time and beyond. What I want to share with you today, is exactly what this choice entails – it may surprise you to learn that many people aren’t as sure as they might have thought – and to also show you that this same choice has been available from the beginning of creation. This choice has not changed over the years, as some think that it has. It is an eternal choice, in every sense of the word; both in its existence and in its effect.

Are You Trusting in the TEXT or in the PERSON?

It seems like a strange question at first: do you trust the text of scripture? If you are a believer the answer is of course, yes – and I’m sure this study is going to raise a few eyebrows. However I want to to share with you something that God has recently shared with me… and it is precisely the difference between trusting in the text of scripture versus trusting in the person that the text is speaking about. It seems almost like semantics or hair-splitting at first, however I believe that as you begin to see this difference and what it means, it will open-up new levels of belief on Jesus Christ, and security in Him.

It may surprise you to also learn that this idea did not originate with me… This distinction is not my invention, but it began with Jesus Himself. He was the one who first spoke of it, and with good reason… this is actually a fundamental issue of both faith and belief. And again it is my privilege to share this with you today.

Don’t Let the Tares Spoil Your Harvest

A popular phrase, is that “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything.” It’s a bit simplistic. My mother managed to simplify it even further to “Don’t be a downer!”. And there is no place that this advice is needed more, than in the realm of the spirit. I remember one time when I was in a small group and we were having a time of prayer, specifically for healing; we were praying for a specific person who was sick and not able to attend that meeting, and it seemed as though a were achieving breakthroughs, but then as our prayer time came to an end, one lady spoke up and said “you know, my friend had those same exact symptoms and she died.”

As soon as those words were uttered, the atmosphere completely changed. The hearts of everyone became somber, and their spirits were all moved from “Yes God is a great Healer!” to “Well, maybe He doesn’t heal.” – all of the belief was sucked out of the room.

My friend, this is not always just blind ignorance. There is a deliberate strategy of the enemy at work here to sabotage the faith and belief of God’s children. Jesus spoke about this exact thing, He taught on it, and the disciples and apostles also warned against it. And today I want to share with you, what Jesus said about the wheat and the tares, and how to not let them spoil you from receiving everything that God has given to you.

Obey the Truth of the Gospel

Obedience. The word conjures up images and thought of behavior and performance for many people. Legalistic pastors and leaders often teach on obedience in an effort to spur people on in their works – trying to make people fall in line and follow rules and regulations; leading many people into guilt, despair, confusion and fear when they fail… wondering how they could ever measure up, “be good enough” or be accepted and approved-of by God.

New Covenant obedience as defined in the scriptures, however, shows us a different kind of obedience. One not founded on the works or self-effort of man, but one based on the perfect work of Jesus Christ. This kind of obedience is backwards to man’s idea, and the thinking of the world. The world says that we must perform to become… we must perform properly to become accepted. However the scriptures tell us that in the New Covenant, we believe that through Christ, we have become accepted already, and we perform because we are New Creations through the Spirit. In reality, our belief is our obedience. We are obedient to the truth. And this is what we will be studying today.

Seek First the Kingdom of God

One of the more notable statements made by Jesus can be found in Matthew 6:33, in which Jesus says that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of the other things will be added to us. Now, as believers we have become fairly adept at seeking God’s righteousness, as that was made available for us by Jesus on the cross. Yet it is interesting that His righteousness was not the first thing mentioned by Jesus when telling us what to search for. Jesus said that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God.

Now in many Christian circles, the Kingdom of God is not talked about very much; most people don’t even properly know what the Kingdom of God even is, or how to define it. We haven’t really sought it first as we were told to, but we have instead been seeking His Righteousness without His Kingdom. That’s why today in this study we will be examining what His Kingdom is, and what it means to seek (and find) the Kingdom of God.

Jesus Loves You (Even When You Don’t Feel It)

The phrase “Jesus Loves You” is powerful. Never has there been three simple words that have the ability to break bondages and transform lives like this one phrase. I have been in situations where this one simple phrase has totally delivered people, broken down emotional walls and set captive hearts free. And I have also been in situations where the phrase has been mocked, snickered at and downplayed to be less than what it is. The sad reality is that much of the latter, has actually happened by church-goers.

In many Christian-circles, we have reduced the powerful phrase “Jesus Loves You”, and we see it is something less, because our own vision and understanding of it has been lessened. I have talked to believers who respond to the phrase “Jesus Loves You”, with a “Yeah but…” – I know He loves me, but I still need more, kind of mentality. We fail to see the vastness of His love, and all that it includes. Today we will be looking at the wonder and majesty that is the love of God, demonstrated in Jesus Christ, and by seeing the truth, we can receive it for all that it is.

The Gift of God’s Love

One question that seems to come up over and over is the question of activity. People have said to me that they want to “do things for God”, they want to be useful and they aren’t sure what He wants them to do. I’ve heard the frustration and confusion and uncertainty in the voice of people when they tell me how they feel like they are stagnating and they are searching all around for some way that they can be “used by God” and that thought and that drive consumes them, and they feel as though their life and time is being wasted doing nothing.

Let me tell you today that while I certainly understand the heart behind those feelings and the desire to do something, I must also tell you today that the answer I give to each person who expresses those feelings to me is the same… and it is a word from God that catches a lot of people off-guard.. maybe God wants you to not do anything right now, but receive His love. You see, most people are so busy looking for something to do for God, they have forgotten the real reason why they were created in the first place – to be filled with the Spirit and the fullness of God and receive His love. This is what we will be studying today.